Sunday, February 14, 2016

Achieving Softness in Gouache



In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a romantic magazine illustration from 1950 by Harry Anderson. It's in gouache, 10 x 13.5 inches. It's a fine example of soft edges, which are challenging to achieve in gouache because of the rapid drying time.


Note the soft edges in the man's collar above, the woman's hair against her neck and temple, and the plane changes around her jaw and neck.

Anderson used plenty of paint, big brushes, and fast decision-making. One of his secrets was to carefully preload the brush with a gradation that he prepped on the palette. Easier said than done—wish there were videos of him painting!
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More Harry Anderson at Jim Pinkoski's website
Preview my gouache tutorial at Gumroad

13 comments:

HNK said...

happy valentine's day! i love Harry Anderson's gouache works.
do you have an artist(s) that you're inspired by now or has become your favorite recently?
sorry for my really bad english.

jeff jordan said...

There's so much you can do with a clean, wet/damp brush in terms of blending gouache. That's what it looks like to me in the man's collar. I really like this guy's work--eagerly awaiting the book about him.

Bob said...

If blending edges and making gradations is easier with oil paint, why would these illustrators use gouache instead of oil?

HNK said...

Harry Anderson was allergic to oil.

Bobby La said...

Harry Anderson is gobsmackingly good.

Mike Lynch said...

Bob, an illustrator might be under deadline and the drying time of oils might hinder meeting deadline. Gouache paintings are easier to reproduce for print. Cleaner studio. And as mentioned, allergies to oils. Though, there are oil paintings by Anderson.

Paul Sullivan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Sullivan said...

Were Anderson's paintings for the Mormon Church done in gouache? They are quite large. If I remember correctly, they were done in the mid 50s, about the time acrylics were introduced.

Anna Glinsmann said...

I found actually that I can blend gouache by smoothing it after applying, blending with a damp clean brush. :) at least to some degree ...

Liz Eph said...

i've not a lot of experience but i've been putting a bit of vegetable glycerine in with my water spray to keep goache and acrylic palette and pic damp. not advisable ?

Mario said...

The technique is explained in this post of yours:

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.it/2010/12/blended-stroke-method.html

If I remember well, Anderson often used casein. In your experience, is softness easier to achieve in casein than in gouache?

Paul Sullivan said...

One of the good things about casein is that you can paint over it without picking up paint beneath. You can work transparent or semi-transparent over opaque areas. Also, gouache can be painted over casein. And, it usually dries to a pleasing matte finish.

I had to use casein for a time in the past and personally, I prefer acrylics. In some cases, I found that casein did not want to flow easily from the brush. In fact, a small amount of Liquid Ivory or detergent had to be added. In one studio paint had to be mixed in a blender. Today's acrylic paints—such as Golden open acrylics—offer all the advantages of casein and a lot more.

Shane White said...

You should talk to Steve Rude. I think he got Harry to show him how he did that.

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